VoIP Woes: I Can’t Get Much Satisfaction – AppScout

August 22, 2007 at 5:00 am 2 comments

VoIP Woes: I Can’t Get Much Satisfaction – AppScout

I have to agree with most of this. I’ve been very unsatisfied, as of late, with Vonage. Call quality seems to be steadily declining, and the alternatives don’t seem much better in the testing I’ve done. I’m a HUGE fan of VoIP in the enterprise. My company’s customer service department uses an Asterisk system I set up, and we are looking at going company-wide with it. We are dropping several voice T1s for a DS3 Internet connection and going to almost all VoIP within the next year.

But, at least for home use- VoIP has been underwhelming. Of course- it’s possible that Qwest (my DSL provider) is throttling competing VoIP traffic. It used to be, before I implemented QoS on my router, that downloads and streaming media would mess up my phone calls, but now- I’m having voice quality and connection problems even with no other traffic on my network. I’m also having issues with CallerID, with most callers not being identified by name anymore.

I am still getting a LOT for my money, when it works. I get voicemail, CallerID, 3-way calling, call waiting/call waiting ID, call forwarding, multi-ring, and other “premium” features, all included standard with my account for less than half what I would pay Qwest for.

Vonage also pisses me off because their adapter and my phone number are locked to each other, and I can’t get a standard SIP account from them to use my own Asterisk server at home. The only way to get a SIP account from them is to buy a $10/month additional “softphone” account, and that would not be interchangeable with my hardware-locked number and would not have the same functionality/feature set.

I want a SIP DID account so I can selectively process calls based on CallerID. Some people, in particular those with blocked or unknown CallerIDs- I want to go directly to voicemail. Some I want to only ring my home number, and others- I want to ring all of my numbers. I also want to add time-of-day features into the mix- allowing some calls/callers to only ring during certain hours. This is important to me since I work early morning hours, so calls after 7pm at night can be very intrusive. I would also like calls at home to be announced with caller ID information. This is all elementary/easy to do with Asterisk (on an old laptop that was destined for the trash, BTW). The difficult part is finding a reasonably priced SIP or IAX DID provider that I can port my existing phone number to.

There are obviously a lot of other VoIP providers out there, but none of them seem to offer as much for the money as Vonage. Some of them “seem” to offer the same services for the same amount of money, or slightly less, but they have hidden charges that creep up if you use things like call forwarding and multi-ringing (which I use a lot). Most charge additional per-minute charges for such things since the use one or more additional POTS connections, even with “unlimited” plans.

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Entry filed under: Telephones (POTS), VoIP.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HQ19:7  |  December 14, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    There are many options out there. And sometimes the software is also a factor to consider. I find Ekiga with diamoncard.us is very good. WengoPhone (now known as QuteCom) makes it possible to have one application that handles all my IM’s as well as afford me a connection to loved one’s PC-to-phone. Mizuphone is also a nice sip software option. Pity about the new Intel Mac’s – no reliable software options there? Anyone?

    Reply
  • 2. neowolfwitch  |  December 15, 2008 at 4:50 am

    An update:

    I’m currently migrating to service from VoicePulse (http://www.voicepulse.com).

    I can get a DID number with four SIP channels and unlimited incoming calls for $11/month, with outgoing calls for less than $.01/minute. Vonage is raising their “budget” plan rates as of the beginning of 2009 and is trying to force everyone to their “full service” plan at $25/month. That’s still a whole lot better than a Qwest line with the same services ($15/month more). I’m working on my home Asterisk server, and once I’ve got it running the way I want- VoicePulse will port my home phone number from Vonage.

    What I like about VoicePulse is they have full support for Asterisk, AsteriskNow, and other derivatives. Vonage likes to pretend they don’t exist, and wants an extra $10/month for basic SIP trunking, in the form of their SoftPhone product. VoicePulse also has a plug-and-play offering similar to Vonage for non-technical folks, and their budget plan is now $3/month cheaper than Vonage’s.

    Reply

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